MINC and ITK Hackathon at the Montreal Neurological Institute

In December, Luis Ibanez and Matt McCormick from Kitware made the trip from Albany, NY to Montreal, Canada to work with collaborators at the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre of the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University. 

Traveling up the hill to the Montreal Neurological Institute.  Brisk air, a steep hill, and slippery footing do well to jump-start the mind before a hackathon.

The primary objective of this hackathon was the integration of the MINC image file format in the ITK ImageIO framework as an ITKv4 module.  Huge progress was made, and a successful end to the effort was marked by a working patch on ITK’s Gerrit Code Review instance.

“The problem of neurology is to understand man himself.”

The event would not have been successful without the efforts of excellent hosts.  Many thanks go out to Louis Collins, head of a large team of neurological researchers and MINC sage, who gathered the MINC community, made sure we had facilities, coffee, and food, and was generally helpful; and Vladimir Fonov, researcher and resident MINC wizard, who de-mystified the details and history of MINC format and who has put a great amount of effort into ITK-MINC integration.


 Louis Collins and Pierre Bellec  Luis Ibanez and Vlad Fonov

A number of members of both the academic and commercial MINC communities also took part, and we started with a whiteboard-based discussion of the history and features of both toolkits, which was informative to all involved.


 The history of ITK.
 The history of MINC.

The entire meeting was held publicly by a continuously-running Google Hangout in the ITK BarCamp Youtube Channel. This involved participants from very diverse locations, including Peru and the offices of the National Library of Medicine.

ITK BarCamp Hangout Setup. Open mic and video.

In the course of adding the new MINCIO features, we solved bugs discovered in the other parts of the toolkit.  For example, issues were fixed in the CMake ExternalProject configuration of the DCMTK third-party library.  Interesting discussions also arose in improvement of the object factory registration system in ITK with the C++ Micro Services library.

A McGill student with his laptop.  He may be compiling the ITK tests.

This effort was made possible in part by funding from the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Questions or comments are always welcome!